East Texans observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

East Texans observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day

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TYLER (KYTX) -

Today, the world honors the late civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Today is a federal holiday that's been recognized by all 50 states since the year 2000.

"I have a dream ... that one day, my four little children will live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character ... I have a dream today!" - Martin Luther King Jr.

That dream is celebrated today by hundreds of East Texans, like Dorthy Mills.

"This day means freedom," she said.

And, It's a great day to be free from a lot of different things.

And seven-year-old Kylie Hallman, who's proving you can never be too young to appreciate your freedoms.

"Go to the same playground, drink at the same water fountain, go to the same school, go to the same job."

All things Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. worked to achieve.

And today, East Texans marched in his honor, just like thousands of Americans did nearly 50 years ago to protest the denial of voting rights to African Americans.

"We are gonna walk nonviolently and peacefully."

In Tyler, marchers walked from the square in downtown Tyler, to a special service at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.

This year's theme: "A perspective on character, color, and courage." Each speaker inside the church wanted to convey one of the messages that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. taught; love is better than hate.

"So we can work together and build a better community. That's what this whole day is about!"

The keynote speaker at this year's program agreed.

Fred Mcclure is the director of the George H.W. Bush library foundation at Texas A & M University. "I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be."

This is the way our world is made.

No individual or nation can stand out boasting of being independent. We are interdependent.

Kawaun White and Esley Mitchell say they wish Dr. King could see how far our nation has come.

"We get together as one and marching together and letting everyone know that we can come together."

"We can all show that we can live and pray and stand as one."

"Free at last. Free at last. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last."

On April 4, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was shot and killed by a sniper as he leaned over the balcony outside of his hotel room.

He was in Memphis to lead a march supporting the city's sanitation workers on strike.

Dr. King would have been 84 years old if he still were alive today.

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